Apple iPhone apps also run on iPads. I don't know if the same is true for Android.

Do Android phone apps run on Android tablets? I figure the API is the same but are the two formats interchangeable at all?

  • 3
    There are very few tablet-specific apps out there. Of the 150 or so apps on my phone and the 100 or so apps on my tablet, I can only think of one, possibly two, that won't work on the other device. – ale May 8 '13 at 16:32
  • 2
    Android's actually more flexible than iOS for this sort of thing. A developer doesn't have to release tablet specific versions of their app, they just need to ensure that their UI scales OK across a variety of screen sizes and resolutions, and then it just works on both. – GAThrawn May 8 '13 at 16:46
  • 2
    Though that doesn't mean an app might not use a different UI on the tablet than it does on the phone ("hybrid app"), or comes in two versions (one phone-optimized and one tablet-optimized). As GAThrawn described, they don't have to -- but they might :) – Izzy May 8 '13 at 19:33

Short answer: It depends.

Long answer:

Android developers have the ability to specify requirements for their apps both in terms of software (minimum OS version, for example) and hardware. For example, an app that does turn-by-turn navigation may require the Android device it's being installed on to have built-in GPS. Such an app would be listed as "incompatible" with any tablet that doesn't have a GPS chip (the tablet reports its hardware features to the Play Store). The same is true for a reverse situation, where an app that requires a minimum screen resolution may work fine on a tablet, but show as incompatible for phones that are below that limit.

Another example is Google TV. Since none of the current models have touch-screen support, any apps that require this feature would be listed as not compatible on the Play Store.

These limitations are only being enforced by the Google's Play Store. This means that if you manage to side-load the app's APK file, it may work just fine on any device. However, the lack of minimum requirements will mean that the app will be unstable.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.